Midway Sued Over Mortal Kombat Rights

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Midway Sued Over Mortal Kombat Rights

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The producer of the 1995 Mortal Kombat movie has launched a lawsuit against Midway that threatens the sale of the bankrupt studio to Warner.

Film producer Lawrence Kasanoff filed suit against Midway in U.S. Bankruptcy court on June 24, claiming that his company, Threshold Entertainment, holds a number of "intellectual property interests" in the Mortal Kombat franchise arising from the Mortal Kombat films and other related properties. He says Midway has refused to acknowledge his "exclusive license" rights to certain aspects of the franchise and wants the court to declare and protect that exclusivity.

Kasanoff claims that it was he, not Midway, who took Mortal Kombat from a conventional fighting game featuring "flat, cookie-cutter characters" to the fleshed-out mythology it is today. "In 1993, Kasanoff visited Midway and its CEO, Neil Nicastro, with an idea to launch the Mortal Kombat concept in a totally new direction," the suit says. "Specifically, Kasanoff proposed to develop derivative works in various media based on the original game, including a full feature-length motion picture, a television series and other productions."

"Midway was initially skeptical, as Kasanoff's idea was revolutionary at the time," it continues. "Although the Mortal Kombat game had tested well in arcades, at that time, no one had ever successfully transitioned a videogame concept into motion pictures and other media, and Midway had made no effort to move beyond videogames with the Mortal Kombat concept. But Kasanoff was ultimately able to persuade Midway to go along with his vision."

Kasanoff describes himself as the "master architect and author" of the film and says he was the one who "brought to life" Mortal Kombat characters including Sonya Blade, Scorpion and Liu Kang. Among the other Mortal Kombat derivatives he claims responsibility for are the Mortal Kombat website, a Mortal Kombat: Behind the Dragon television special, the Mortal Kombat live stage show, an animated special, soundtrack to the film, the Ultimate Guide to Mortal Kombat CD-ROM and numerous others. To date, he says, the franchise as a whole has grossed over $4 billion.

But the proposed sale to Warner Bros., he says, which will include all assets related to the Mortal Kombat videogame series, doesn't take into account Threshold's interest in the franchise. As a result, he wants the court to declare that Threshold does in fact have an exclusive license to produce derivative works as well as other rights associated with the franchise and that the sale of Midway's assets to another entity must not impinge upon those rights.

Kasanoff's claim is problematic for Midway because any potential acquisition, including Warner's $33 million bid, is going to be centered around Mortal Kombat, the company's premiere franchise. Midway is dangerously close to being a one-trick pony and any restriction of access to that property will no doubt discourage buyers or at the very least drive the price down drastically. There will no doubt be much legal wrangling ahead. A copy of Kasanoff's lawsuit is available here. (PDF format)

Source: GamePolitics

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Malygris:
Kasanoff claims that it was he, not Midway, who took Mortal Kombat from a conventional fighting game featuring "flat, cookie-cutter characters" to the fleshed-out mythology it is today.

How did he bring life into the franchise? There was barely any in his movie.

SilentHunter7:

Malygris:
Kasanoff claims that it was he, not Midway, who took Mortal Kombat from a conventional fighting game featuring "flat, cookie-cutter characters" to the fleshed-out mythology it is today.

How did he bring life into the franchise? There was barely any in his movie.

This. And why did he have to flesh out characters, I thought they were fine as the punching bags they were.

Holy crow... I gotta admit I didn't see that coming. Not to mention it looks like an actual lawsuit, and not those silly ones that we all scoff at.

Anyone out there got some legal chops so they can tell us if this actually has weight?

Essentially he's saying that he made Mortal Kombat what it is today. He made a half-ass movie, everybody saw it, he gets money for it, he want's more. Kasanoff has a legitimate case here, because he does actually have rights, but he's just bitching right now.

Malygris:
the bankrupt studio

That's all we needed to know to realise that it's (most probably) a quick attempt to get some money.

What a dick. If it weren't for his atrocious movie driving away potential costumers, the franchise might even be healthier today. This is why copyright needs to die. It's obviously not protecting people making stuff, instead it makes them slaves to patent mongers.

Malygris:
"Although the Mortal Kombat game had tested well in arcades, at that time, no one had ever successfully transitioned a videogame concept into motion pictures

And we're still waiting for that to happen to this day.

Is his claim just based around the work he's already done, or is he claiming some sort of actual exclusivity agreement with Midway, with papers and words and stuff? Either way, this, I'm sure, is not what they need right now.

Kasanoff, according to imdb, is actually working on a revamped Mortal Kombat movie for next year.

For the record, I actually thought the first Mortal Kombat movie was pretty good. Saw it in the theater and had a lot of fun.

The sequel, however, was a complete abortion.

i don't see how this will go very far, mortal kombat was around and popular long before the movies

SilentHunter7:
Kasanoff claims that it was he, not Midway, who took Mortal Kombat from a conventional fighting game featuring "flat, cookie-cutter characters" to the fleshed-out mythology it is today.

What you mean those shitty ass movies? Lol, this guy is a douche, He makes Michael Bay's story telling Shakespearean.

Malygris:
Kasanoff describes himself as the "master architect and author" of the film

Okay...maybe we could get him to tone it down to just architect? Or brick layer even?

Anyway, I guess there is the possibility that the movies did keep the series afloat to allow them to shift into that they are today, but still, fleshing out the characters? Do Mortal Kombat characters even have backstories?

I III II X4:

Malygris:
Kasanoff describes himself as the "master architect and author" of the film

Okay...maybe we could get him to tone it down to just architect? Or brick layer even?

Anyway, I guess there is the possibility that the movies did keep the series afloat to allow them to shift into that they are today, but still, fleshing out the characters? Do Mortal Kombat characters even have backstories?

Maybe he's a freemason.

And yes, unfortunatly, they do. Some are better then others.

TsunamiWombat:
Maybe he's a freemason.

And yes, unfortunatly, they do. Some are better then others.

Wow...seriously? They're developed to that extent? Blew my mind, man...

Also, good call 'bout the Freemason bit.

T'Generalissimo:

Malygris:
"Although the Mortal Kombat game had tested well in arcades, at that time, no one had ever successfully transitioned a videogame concept into motion pictures

And we're still waiting for that to happen to this day.

Dammit, you beat me to that.

Seriously, though. This guy wants to take the blame credit for the MK movie franchise? I say let him. Then the company can just point at him and say "It was all his fault! Not ours!"

The original MK movie was good.

I liked the early incarnations of the series over Street Fighter due to the realism, awesome atmosphere, dark characters, and tones of some impending doom.

The Liu Kang VS Reptile fight is a classic. Didn't see it coming when I originally saw it years ago.

I III II X4:

TsunamiWombat:
Maybe he's a freemason.

And yes, unfortunatly, they do. Some are better then others.

Wow...seriously? They're developed to that extent? Blew my mind, man...

Also, good call 'bout the Freemason bit.

Mortal Kombat's characters have more extensive backstories then any other fighter, short of Soul Calibur.

Not that people actually care.

Altorin:

I III II X4:

TsunamiWombat:
Maybe he's a freemason.

And yes, unfortunatly, they do. Some are better then others.

Wow...seriously? They're developed to that extent? Blew my mind, man...

Also, good call 'bout the Freemason bit.

Mortal Kombat's characters have more extensive backstories then any other fighter, short of Soul Calibur.

Not that people actually care.

MK has a pretty deep backstory, it is a shame they never put it to good use.

Asehujiko:
What a dick. If it weren't for his atrocious movie driving away potential costumers, the franchise might even be healthier today. This is why copyright needs to die. It's obviously not protecting people making stuff, instead it makes them slaves to patent mongers.

If copyright laws had existed 5 to 6 hundred years ago (IE between 1400 and 1500 and a bit further to be fair) the Renaissance would have never happened.

Almost the entire Renaissance was people copying each other. There was blatant copying that was so similar it was merely the medium that separated the works.

That's why I dislike copyright laws, one of the most revered periods in human history wouldn't even exist had they existed.

they do have a case, they are saying that they have things like movies they are working on that, if midway sells mortal kombat, will be in jeopardy.

so they would like the court to give them some kind of rights to mortal kombat.

Altorin:
Mortal Kombat's characters have more extensive backstories then any other fighter, short of Soul Calibur.

Not that people actually care.

I...I gotta be honest, I'm biased against the series because I don't enjoy it, though I think I'll rent the later ones again, if only to get some insight into the story...aside from the bit about it being the ultimate gathering of fighters for a tournament.

Malygris:
Kasanoff claims that it was he, not Midway, who took Mortal Kombat from a conventional fighting game featuring "flat, cookie-cutter characters" to the fleshed-out mythology it is today.

Yes, of course. He took flat, cookie-cutter characters from a video game and transfered them to, well, flat, cookie-cutter characters in a movie. That must have been one tricky manuever.

Fumbles:

SilentHunter7:
Kasanoff claims that it was he, not Midway, who took Mortal Kombat from a conventional fighting game featuring "flat, cookie-cutter characters" to the fleshed-out mythology it is today.

What you mean those shitty ass movies? Lol, this guy is a douche, He makes Michael Bay's story telling Shakespearean.

Anything makes Micheal Bay's storytelling look like Shakespearean.
But like it was stated, This seems like a quick way to get money.

SilentHunter7:

Malygris:
Kasanoff claims that it was he, not Midway, who took Mortal Kombat from a conventional fighting game featuring "flat, cookie-cutter characters" to the fleshed-out mythology it is today.

How did he bring life into the franchise? There was barely any in his movie.

Yes, a fleshed out mythology with people transforming into claymation figures for little to no reason and a hamfisted explanation of "animality". Yeah, screw you Kasanoff. You've officially undone what little goodwill you had left for the first movie being actually good. And that was probably because you didn't explain much more beyond "tournament to decide the fate of Earth"

Raziel_Likes_Souls:

Anything makes Micheal Bay's storytelling look like Shakespearean.

Okay, either you have the wrong idea of what 'Shakespearean' means, or you are confusing Micheal Bay with someone else...

OT: This is why I hate large companies. Really, there's no reason for them to do this at all, apart from making even more money to make shitty games and movies with.

Does anyone actually think that he'll get what he wants?

Alleged_Alec:

Raziel_Likes_Souls:

Anything makes Micheal Bay's storytelling look like Shakespearean.

Okay, either you have the wrong idea of what 'Shakespearean' means, or you are confusing Micheal Bay with someone else...

OT: This is why I hate large companies. Really, there's no reason for them to do this at all, apart from making even more money to make shitty games and movies with.

Well, I was trying to use that in a dergatory way, I think I meant anything is Shakespearean compared to Micheal Bay.

Raziel_Likes_Souls:

Alleged_Alec:

Raziel_Likes_Souls:

Anything makes Micheal Bay's storytelling look like Shakespearean.

Okay, either you have the wrong idea of what 'Shakespearean' means, or you are confusing Micheal Bay with someone else...

OT: This is why I hate large companies. Really, there's no reason for them to do this at all, apart from making even more money to make shitty games and movies with.

Well, I was trying to use that in a dergatory way, I think I meant anything is Shakespearean compared to Micheal Bay.

Ah, well then your original sentence has the prepositions backwards.

You said "Anything makes Micheal Bay's storytelling look like Shakespearean."

When you apparently meant, "Micheal Bay makes anyone else's storytelling look Shakespearean."

...

Ah! Did I just correct someone's grammar?

I feel dirty.

Malygris:
For the record, I actually thought the first Mortal Kombat movie was pretty good. Saw it in the theater and had a lot of fun.

The sequel, however, was a complete abortion.

Agreed, nuff said.

1deano1:
Does anyone actually think that he'll get what he wants?

Most likely Warner Bros. is throwing him a bone to retain movie rights, which he'll probably concede to. His gripe is legit, he's trying to protect what he worked on. Yet he really should have kept his eye on Midway and done more earlier to protect his work, as opposed to waiting til now when it can do real damage to both Midway and Warner Bros.
Legit argument? Yes. Is he a real dilhole? Yes. Fatality!

Replace the characters in Mortal Kombat with anything that throws punches and it would still have been a successful game. People played the game because they could wail on each other, not because of character design.

first MK movie was good the second one sucks balls

I would love to see a complete reboot of the movie franchise.

They should just make an ultraviolent Mortal Kombat movie with an unknown director & actors so the budget can be blown on state of the art special effects

actually i found the first fight in sand in the movie one of the best fighting Sean pretty good.

its weird he after the big money, he did not say anything till now and they was making some money the whole time outta MK.. but either way the MK movies did not help enough to say i have a stake at this, if he wins others will come out it be a sad day =( but maybe at least no more video game movies ^^

CrystalShadow:

Raziel_Likes_Souls:

Alleged_Alec:

Raziel_Likes_Souls:

Anything makes Micheal Bay's storytelling look like Shakespearean.

Okay, either you have the wrong idea of what 'Shakespearean' means, or you are confusing Micheal Bay with someone else...

OT: This is why I hate large companies. Really, there's no reason for them to do this at all, apart from making even more money to make shitty games and movies with.

Well, I was trying to use that in a dergatory way, I think I meant anything is Shakespearean compared to Micheal Bay.

Ah, well then your original sentence has the prepositions backwards.

You said "Anything makes Micheal Bay's storytelling look like Shakespearean."

When you apparently meant, "Micheal Bay makes anyone else's storytelling look Shakespearean."

...

Ah! Did I just correct someone's grammar?

I feel dirty.

You should.

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